Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE NEWPORT TOWER, by JOHN GARDINER CALKINS BRAINARD

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THE NEWPORT TOWER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: There is a rude old monument
Last Line: "the spot where I am laid."
Subject(s): Monuments; Newport, Rhode Island

THERE is a rude old monument,
Half masonry, half ruin, bent
With sagging weight, as if it meant
To warn one of mischance;
And an old Indian may be seen,
Musing in sadness on the scene,
And casting on it many a keen,
And many a thoughtful glance.
When lightly sweeps the evening tide
Old Narraganset's shore beside,
And the canoes in safety ride
Upon the lovely bay--
I've seen him gaze on that old tower,
At evening's calm and pensive hour,
And when the night began to lour,
Scarce tear himself away.
Oft at its foot I've seen him sit,
His willows trim, his walnut split,
And there his seine he loved to knit,
And there its rope to haul;
'T is there he loves to be alone,
Gazing at every crumbling stone,
And making many an anxious moan,
When one is like to fall.
But once he turned with furious look,
While high his clenched hand he shook,
And from his brow his dark eye took
A red'ning glow of madness;
Yet when I told him why I came,
His wild and bloodshot eye grew tame,
And bitter thoughts passed o'er its flame,
That changed its rage to sadness.
"You watch my step, and ask me why
This ruin fills my straining eye?
Stranger, there is a prophecy
Which you may lightly heed:
Stay its fulfillment, if you can;
I heard it of a gray-haired man,
And thus the threatening story ran,--
A boding tale indeed.
"He said, that when this massy wall
Down to its very base should fall,
And not one stone among it all
Might rest upon another,
Then should the Indian race and kind
Disperse like the returnless wind,
And no red man be left to find
One he could call a brother.
"Now yon old tower is falling fast, --
Kindred and friends away are passed;
O! that my father's soul may cast
Upon my grave its shade,
When some good Christian man shall place
O'er me, the last of all my race,
The last old stone that falls, to grace
The spot where I am laid."

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